1.6 billion concerns
The steadfast adage that numbers don't lie is timeless because it's truth. A friend whose vocation is numbers (CPA) once told me everything in life boils down to number-crunching. Well, perhaps not everything, but since numbers don't lie, they should not be ignored or easily dismissed. Numbers are ironclad. They tell us the speed of light, the decay rates of isotopes and why compounding interest is so advantageous.
In typical non-story fashion that came and went quicker than a blitzing summer thunderstorm was the Department of Homeland Security's purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.
People often find anything with an "-illion" on the end somewhat problematic. Maybe it's because they sound and look so much alike as in million and billion. One useful way is to think of those numbers in seconds. Replace the "m" with a "b" and the difference is astounding.
A million seconds is about 11 1/2 days. A billion seconds is nearly 32 years.
Such a juxtaposition puts these formidable figures in distinct contrast.
I have been told on several occasions by those in the market for ammunition that there is little to be had and that this has been going on since the New Year. Can widespread shortages be attributed to hoarding or production shortfalls caused by the enormous acquisitions by Homeland Security that just happens to coincide with the rancorous argument over the Second Amendment and gun control?
Some argue this is a deliberate attempt by Uncle Sam to stockpile ammunition while keeping it out of the hands of the American citizen. The government may not be able to confiscate anyone's weapons yet, but the next best thing is shutting out those who do happen to possess a firearm from obtaining any ammunition.
Some reports I've read say such a large purchase was necessary in order to save money. Really? Tell that to the IRS with its most recent convention spending. Anyone with a pulse knows all too well that frugality hasn't been in Uncle Sam's blood stream since the New Deal chained Sam to the gurney and drained him dry.
Paul Watson of Infowars.com reported that the 1.6 billion rounds included 10 million hollow-points. The hollow-points are best known on the street as "cop-killers" and are actually barred by the rules of war. The ammo distribution doesn't stop at Homeland Security either. Snopes.com confirms that the Social Security Administration has obtained 174,000 hollow-point bullets for its 300 special agents. Is it really necessary to arm each agent with 580 rounds each? In addition, the National Marine Fisheries Service has procured 46,000 hollow-point bullets for its reported 63 agents.
Why do both of these agencies arm their personnel to begin with? Will they be wearing all their issued ammo in bandolier fashion, too?
Keep in mind that prior to Sept, 11, 2001, there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security. What do these government agencies intend to do with those millions of rounds they are stockpiling?
Tell that to the U.S. Army. A New American story reported Army troops are now conducting all training exercises using blanks. Live-fire exercises have apparently gone the way of the musket. Why the precedence for arming every sort of government agency and not military units?
It doesn't end with the ammunition purchases - far from it. Homeland Security also has procured 7,000 assault rifles and has retrofitted more than 2,000 light tanks. If the government, as some suggest, is depleting ammunition stocks as a means of gun control, then why do they need assault rifles and tanks, too? Why would any domestic government agency need such firepower?
What domestic enemy are we arming non-military forces for?
The Taliban invasion?
As a candidate in 2008, Obama said, "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
These 1.6 billion rounds are enough to shoot every man, woman and child, legal or illegal, in this country at least five times.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is conducting an investigation to determine the logistical needs of Homeland Security and if they were just trying to save money by buying in bulk.
In more ways than one, you could brand it the balkanization of America.
Then again, perhaps Homeland Security is saving up to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
(Greg Maresca, a freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)